Their peace, tranquility, and respective modes of concentration were broken by the excited entry of a british rider with a message.
The tight clad messenger hesitated before the King. It was not clear whether he had been out of the country so long he had forgotten the refinements of British court life. He bowed.“Your Highness”, he said, breathlessly. “I have grievous news from the Americas.”
The King looked puzzled for a moment, but Prince George ignored his Game Boy and started to pay attention. Finally, the King said:
“Aren’t the Americas on of my dominions?”
“Yes, your Highness, it is the 13 American colonies.”
“Aah,” said the King, “since I past the 100 mark I’ve had trouble remembering them all.”
“The news is not good,” the messenger resumed. “It seems that some strange illness, a virus, has hit the whole population. It has had a terrible effect, your Highness. It has affected their vocal chords. All the population is affected.”
“Why is everyone grieving? Do they have physicians in the Americas?” the King asked in unworldly innocence.
“Your Highness, they no longer speak the King’s form of English. They’ve all started speaking in a strange accent, and all the words of the King’s English are being distorted. They sound like they’re of another world. The virus is so virulent, your Highness, nobody can speak the King’s English any more.”
“This virus, could it have been planted by the French? They’re so jealous of all my colonies; they’d stop at nothing,” the King responded. “This accent they all now speak in, this foreign tongue, does it sound French?”
“Thankfully not, your Highness. But how would the French smuggle this virus in?” asked the messenger.
“You remember Troy? The Trojan horse? That’s how they’d do it, the sneaky French. Trust them to use a Trojan horse to get a virus inside my dominian,” the King presumed.
The messenger looked anxiously and expectantly at the King, who went on:
“There’s only one thing for it. I cannot have subjects from my own land not speaking the King’s English.”
He waved his arm dismissively. “Get rid of them”, he said. “Leave them to fend for themselves. I know they’ll never survive on their own, let alone progress, but we cannot have my Kindom corrupted by those virus ridden settlers.”
“ Your Highness, would you rather visit the territory to assess the problems for yourself?” the messenger suggested.
The King shook his head knowingly.
“We have no cure for this mysterious virus. What would be the point of my going?”
Prince George looked across pleadingly:
“Oh, please, go Daddy. I want those domains.”
“No son, those colonies are no longer part of my realm, and will not be part of yours to inherit,” the King replied.
With the wave of a hand, the King dismissed his American colonies. But it was not the end of the story by far.
The messenger was sent on his way to tell the King’s officials to prepare papers that would lead the way to American Independence; and just as an afterthought, he also sent a message to Parliament, to inform them of his declaration of American Independence.
Matters of state moved quite slowly those days, but by January of 1776 the British officials had prepared a paper entitled: The British Route To American Independence. Armed with this historic document, the King’s messenger set off for what the King now regarded as his former American colonies.
This was no Instant Messenger. The British and French had not yet been on friendly enough terms for the Concorde to have been born, so it was down to a long and arduous journey by ship. The messenger arrived on American soil several weeks later, carrying The British Route to American Independence.
Local British representatives were briefed on the King’s instructions. There was no such thing as a photocopier in those days, so there were just two handwritten copies of this historic document. One was to be retained by the King’s messenger, the other to be given to the leader of the colonists.
The most common means of communication then was still word of mouth, and that was to lead to a turn of events that has irrevocably altered non-history. Not only was communication verbal, but it was slow.
The virus that had afflicted the vocal chords of colonists had already affected the pronunciation of route. What was “root” in the King’s English, had become “rout” (as in out) in those affected by this mystery virus. So, as news of the King’s declaration began to leak, the initial chatter in American quarters became about the British “rout” to American Independence.